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Saturday, July 24, 1999 Published at 21:15 GMT 22:15 UK


Sport: Cricket

Pakistan cricket in crisis

Wasim Akram: The report's publication follows his team's failure in the World Cup final

Pakistan cricket captain Wasim Akram faces being dropped from the national team, following the publication of a report into match-fixing.

The Pakistan Cricket Board has concluded that there are strong reasons to believe that some players deliberately lost matches against India, South Africa and New Zealand between 1994 and 1996.


Owen Bennet-Jones: World Cup results are being questioned
And the PCB recommended that, pending further investigations, three players - skipper Wasim and senior batsmen Salim Malik and Ijaz Ahmed - should not be selected for the team.

The report was completed last year but has only now been published.

Change of mind

At the time the findings were kept confidential and all three players went on to play in the Cricket World Cup in England.

But BBC Islamabad Correspondent Owen Bennett-Jones says Pakistani officials have now reversed their decision.

He says while they may have been willing to overlook the PCB report before the World Cup, Pakistan's heavy defeat by Australia in the final seems to have changed their attitude.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau has also recommended that the PCB should frame charges against players suspected of match fixing.

Denials

The three players have consistently denied any wrong-doing.

As well as facing the PCB and the Anti Corruption Bureau, Pakistan's leading cricketers are also the subject of Senate committee hearings and a judicial inquiry.

The judge heading that inquiry says he is nearly ready to publish his findings, which mostly relate to matches played in the mid-1990s.

But he says he wants to know whether he should broaden his inquiry to cover allegations that Pakistan deliberately lost three of the recent World Cup matches, including the final itself.





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